There are many ways to heat your premises. Let us help you find out what kind of heating system your home or building uses.


Boilers operate by forcing water across the heating source. Boilers can be divided into several categories, depending on the type of heat source used.

Gas boilers have one of the lowest costs of operation and generally produce heating temperatures higher than a heat pump. They include a chimney or flue that runs outdoors. If you have a gas boiler, you are probably paying for gas or propane either independently or on your utility bills.

Electric boilers typically cost more to operate than other types of heating systems, but can be used where no gas lines are available. Look for a large electric coil, similar to the one inside a toaster. If you are not paying for natural gas, propane gas or oil as a heat source, you might have an electric boiler.

Oil boilers can also be used in the absence of natural gas lines. Typically the oil is stored in an above-ground or below-ground tank, or sometimes even a tank located in a cellar. To identify an oil boiler, check for a chimney and the smell of diesel oil.


Heat pumps move warm air from the heat source to the desired location, called the heat sink. They operate just like air conditioners, but in reverse. Most heat pumps require a secondary power source, typically an electric one. Heat pumps look just like the outside units of air conditioners, so check your thermostat. If it has a "back-up" or "secondary" heat switch, you most likely have a heat pump.

Ground heat pumps are some of the most expensive units to install, but some of the most efficient units to operate. They do not have outdoor units. To see if you have a geothermal heat pump, first establish if you have a heat pump, then check outside to see whether you have an outdoor unit with a fan.


Boilers heat water or steam in a closed vessel and then release it into the premises. They are known for their quietness and comfort, though installing a boiler may be expensive depending on the layout of the building. These heating systems also allow for individually controlled rooms.

Electric boilers will not have a chimney (flue) pipe, but you will have a large electric circuit feeding it and probably a large electric bill to go with it.

Gas boilers and oil boilers both have chimney pipes. To determine which type of boiler you have, look to see whether you are paying for fuel oil on your bills. If you are, you probably have an oil boiler.


Package units are self-contained units that come pre-assembled. They sit outside the premises on the ground or roof and are connected to a ducting system.

Heat pump package units can be identified by first determining whether the unit is a package unit, then checking the thermostat. If your thermostat has a "back-up" or "secondary" heat switch, it is most likely a heat pump package unit.

Gas package units can be identified by checking to see if the unit is a package unit, then looking for a gas pipe feeding into the unit.